3 Stocks Pushing The Chemicals Industry Lower

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

The Chemicals industry as a whole closed the day down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.6%. Laggards within the Chemicals industry included Ceres ( CERE), down 2.8%, Methes Energies International ( MEIL), down 5.2%, NL Industries ( NL), down 1.6%, Metabolix ( MBLX), down 2.9% and Oil-Dri Corp of America ( ODC), down 1.6%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the industry lower today:

Metabolix ( MBLX) is one of the companies that pushed the Chemicals industry lower today. Metabolix was down $0.03 (2.9%) to $0.98 on light volume. Throughout the day, 60,960 shares of Metabolix exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 185,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.96-$1.02 after having opened the day at $1.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.01.

Metabolix, Inc., a bioscience company, focuses on delivering sustainable solutions to the plastics and chemicals industries. It produces a family of biopolymers found in nature called polyhydroxyalkanoates, which occur naturally in living organisms and are chemically similar to polyesters. Metabolix has a market cap of $33.3 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 24.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Metabolix a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Metabolix as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MBLX go as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, METABOLIX INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • MBLX's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 34.36%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 31.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • METABOLIX INC has improved earnings per share by 8.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, METABOLIX INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.88 versus $0.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.83 versus -$0.88).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry average. The net income increased by 8.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$7.87 million to -$7.24 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Metabolix Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

At the close, NL Industries ( NL) was down $0.14 (1.6%) to $8.64 on light volume. Throughout the day, 9,336 shares of NL Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 19,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $8.63-$8.80 after having opened the day at $8.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.78.

NL Industries, Inc., through its subsidiary, CompX International Inc., operates in the component products industry in the United States and internationally. NL Industries has a market cap of $426.0 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 21.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate NL Industries a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates NL Industries as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on NL go as follows:

  • NL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NL has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.74, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • NL INDUSTRIES reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NL INDUSTRIES swung to a loss, reporting -$1.13 versus $1.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.45 versus -$1.13).
  • NL has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 20.69% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, NL INDUSTRIES's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: NL Industries Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Ceres ( CERE) was another company that pushed the Chemicals industry lower today. Ceres was down $0.02 (2.8%) to $0.52 on light volume. Throughout the day, 76,487 shares of Ceres exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 269,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.52-$0.55 after having opened the day at $0.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.54.

Ceres, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, develops and sells energy crops to produce renewable bioenergy feedstocks in North America. Ceres has a market cap of $25.2 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 62.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Ceres a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ceres as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CERE go as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CERES INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • CERE's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 56.28%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 40.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • CERES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CERES INC reported poor results of -$1.31 versus -$1.22 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.61 versus -$1.31).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 17.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$9.32 million to -$7.73 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Ceres Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

More from Markets

Asia Markets Fall on Latest Tariff Threats From Trump

Asia Markets Fall on Latest Tariff Threats From Trump

Google Invests in JD.com; Comcast-Disney Battle Nears Head -- ICYMI

Google Invests in JD.com; Comcast-Disney Battle Nears Head -- ICYMI

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on Tariff Worries, Oil, Alphabet and Centene

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on Tariff Worries, Oil, Alphabet and Centene

Video: Athens Stock Exchange CEO on What's Next for Greece's Debt Woes

Video: Athens Stock Exchange CEO on What's Next for Greece's Debt Woes

Dow Drops Over 100 Points on Trade War Worries

Dow Drops Over 100 Points on Trade War Worries